The Post is a 2017 American historical political thriller film, directed and produced by Steven Spielberg and written by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer. It stars Meryl Streep as Katharine Graham, the first female publisher of a major American newspaper, and Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee, the executive editor of The Washington Post, with Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, Bruce Greenwood, Carrie Coon, and Matthew Rhys in supporting roles.
Set in the early 1970s, The Post depicts the true story of attempts by journalists at The Washington Post to publish the Pentagon Papers, classified documents regarding the 30-year involvement of the United States government in the Vietnam War.
Principal photography began in New York City in May 2017. The film premiered at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. on 14th December 2017, and began a limited release in the United States on 22nd December 2017. It had a wide release on 12th January 2018.
The Post received very positive reviews, with critics praising the performances in the film, particularly those of Streep, Hanks, and Odenkirk, and noting the references and allusions to the presidencies of Richard Nixon and Donald Trump. The Post was chosen by the National Board of Review as the best film of 2017 and was named as one of the top 10 films of the year by Time and the American Film Institute. The film was nominated for Best Picture and Best Actress (for Streep) at the 90th Academy Awards, and also received six nominations at the 75th Golden Globe Awards: Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director, Best Actress – Drama (for Streep), Best Actor – Drama (for Hanks), Best Screenplay and Best Original Score.
In October 2016, Amy Pascal won a bid for the rights to the screenplay The Post, written by Liz Hannah. In February 2017, Steven Spielberg had halted pre-production on The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara after a casting setback, and consequently opened his schedule to other potential films to direct. The following month, it was announced that Spielberg was in negotiations to direct and produce the film, with Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks in talks for the roles of Katharine Graham and Ben Bradlee, respectively. The Post is the first time that Spielberg, Streep, and Hanks had all worked together on a film.
Spielberg read the screenplay and decided to direct the film as soon as possible, citing that "when I read the first draft of the script, this wasn't something that could wait three years or two years — this was a story I felt we needed to tell today." Spielberg worked on The Post while post-production work continued on the visual-effects-heavy Ready Player One, a situation familiar to him from concurrently producing, in the early 1990s, Jurassic Park and Schindler's List. Josh Singer was hired to re-write the screenplay ten weeks before filming.
As filming commenced, a number of New York Times figures who were associated with the Pentagon Papers case—among them James Greenfield, James Goodale, Allan Siegal, and Max Frankel—objected to the film's production due to the script's lack of emphasis on the Times' role in breaking the story. Goodale, who was at the time the Times's in-house counsel, later called the film "a good movie but bad history."
The Post premiered at the Newseum in Washington,
D.C. on 14th December 2017. It began a limited theatrical release in the
United States on 22nd December 2017, and a wide release on 12th January
2018. The film is distributed internationally through Amblin Partners'
distribution agreements with Universal Pictures, Reliance Entertainment,
and Entertainment One Films. The film was released by Reliance in India.
Tom Hanks has expressed disinterest in appearing at a potential White
House screening for Donald Trump.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, The Post has an approval rating of 88% . The site's critical consensus reads, "The Post's period setting belies its bitingly timely themes, brought compellingly to life by director Steven Spielberg and an outstanding ensemble cast." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score of 83 out of 100, indicating "universal acclaim". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale, while comScore reported 63% of audience members gave the film a "definite recommend".
Alonso Duralde of TheWrap praised the acting and Spielberg's direction, though noted the script as being too on-the-nose at times, saying, "The Post passes the trickiest tests of a historical drama: It makes us understand that decisions that have been validated by the lens of history were difficult ones to make in the moment, and it generates suspense over how all the pieces fell into place to make those decisions come to fruition." David Ehrlich of IndieWire gave the film an A– and wrote: "Nobody needs to be reminded that history tends to go in circles, but The Post is so vital because it captures the ecstasy of trying to break the chain and bend things towards justice; defending the fundamental tenets of the Constitution hasn't been this much fun since Hamilton."
Manohla Dargis of The New York Times awarded the film an NYT Critic's Pick with a strong acknowledgment of Spielberg as director stating, "Mostly, (the Post decision to publish) went down fast, a pace that Mr. Spielberg conveys with accelerated rhythms, flying feet, racing cameras and an enjoyably loose approach to the material. With his virtuosic, veteran crew, Mr. Spielberg paints the scene vividly and with daubs of beauty; most notably, he creates distinct visual realms for the story’s two main overlapping, at times colliding worlds. Katharine reigns over one; at first she’s all but entombed in her darkly lighted, wood-paneled empire. Ben rules the other, overseeing the talking and typing warriors of the glaring, noisily freewheeling newsroom".
The first official image from The Post was released on 31st
October 2017. The trailer for the film premiered exclusively on The Late
Show with Stephen Colbert, on 7th November 2017, and the film's poster,
designed by BLT Communications, was released the next day. The first TV
spot, titled "Uncover the Truth", was released on 21st November
Meryl Streep as Katharine Graham
Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee
Sarah Paulson as Antoinette "Tony" Pinchot Bradlee
Bob Odenkirk as Ben Bagdikian
Tracy Letts as Fritz Beebe
Bradley Whitford as Arthur Parsons
Bruce Greenwood as Robert McNamara
Matthew Rhys as Daniel Ellsberg
Alison Brie as Lally Graham
Carrie Coon as Meg Greenfield
Jesse Plemons as Roger Clark
David Cross as Howard Simons
Michael Stuhlbarg as A. M. Rosenthal
Zach Woods as Anthony Essaye
Pat Healy as Philip L. Geyelin
John Rue as Gene Patterson
Rick Holmes as Murrey Marder
Philip Casnoff as Chalmers Roberts
Jessie Mueller as Judith Martin
Stark Sands as Donald E. Graham
Michael Cyril Creighton as Jake
Brent Langdon as Paul Ignatius
Christopher Innvar as James L. Greenfield
James Riordan as Vice Admiral Joseph Francis Blouin
Kelly AuCoin as Assistant Attorney General Maroney
Cotter Smith as William Macomber
Jennifer Dundas as Liz Hylton
The score for the film was written by John Williams; it is his 28th collaboration with Spielberg.
The music is a combination of traditional orchestral instrumentation and what Williams has called "very light, computerised electronic effects." Williams was originally attached to write the music for Spielberg's Ready Player One, but, because both films had similar post-production schedules, Williams chose to work on The Post, while Alan Silvestri composed for Ready Player One.
Recording began on 30th October 2017 in Los Angeles. The soundtrack was released digitally by Sony Classical Records on 22nd December 2017, and in physical form on 12th January 2018.
1. "The Papers" 3:56
2. "The Presses Roll" 5:01
3. "Nixon's Order" 1:47
4. "The Oak Room, 1971" 1:46
5. "Setting the Type" 2:34
6. "Mother and Daughter" 3:23
7. "Scanning the Papers" 2:23
8. "Two Martini Lunch" 2:34
9. "Deciding to Publish" 5:42
10. "The Court's Decision and End Credits" 11:04
Total length: 40:10